This is officially getting scary.
Fresh on the heels of Trump’s administration banning the Parks Service from Twitter for the “crime” of pointing out that Obama’s inauguration attendance was larger than Trump’s, the White House has banned two more agencies. Both, notably, oversee areas of scientific research that Republicans oppose: The US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to an email sent Monday morning and obtained by BuzzFeed News, the department told staff — including some 2,000 scientists — at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work.
“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in a department-wide email shared with BuzzFeed News.
“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” she added.
The ARS has not tweeted since the day before Trump’s inauguration. It’s been complete silence this innocuous post.
— USDA-ARS (@USDA_ARS) January 19, 2017
More troubling still, Trump appears to be going after the research wings of these departments, apparently afraid that they may be promoting inconvenient truths. Locking down of social media and dissenting opinions is a hallmark of autocratic regimes. The control of information is viewed as a must for any would-be tyrant.
The EPA seems to be hardest hit. Due to their natural opposition to pollution and environmental destruction, the agency has been in the crosshairs for coal lobbyists and the politicians they buy for years. Now, with Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and White House, it seems they are finally getting the opportunity to truly do the damage they’ve always wanted. According to Associated Press, this includes blocking employees from talking about the ways the agency is being dismantled on social media.
BREAKING: Trump bans EPA employees from providing updates on social media or to reporters, bars awarding new contracts or grants.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 24, 2017
Sensing a theme here?
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images